Our project Shore to Shore

The concept

The project Shore to Shore is based on the Theatre of Living experience, an artistic process that accompanies participants to become writers, stage-directors and spectators of their own life-story.

Introduction

Projet D’une Rive à l’AutreToo often words are not enough to express the inner pain caused by a traumatic experience. Therefore the emotions aweaken by such an experiences remain untold and unshared, locked in a cage of silence, shame and fear. The result is a deep sense of powerlessness which in turn determines how we perceive and relate with others. Our future choices are consequently based on fear, hatred and mistrust. The Theatre of Living Experience, through the metaphorical and sensorial language of theatre, enables to share the unsharable, to say what cannot be said, to transform the way we tell and we look at our own life. It allows us to reconnect with our own past experience and to recognize ourselves in the story of others. A painful experience is transformed, its meaning is revealed and its essence becomes universal. The feelings of solitude and isolation give way to a sense of interconnectedness and belonging which breaks down the barriers of fear, hatred and mistrust.

The history

The Theatre of Living Experience was developed in 2002 by Jean-Philippe Assal, professor of medicine and president of the Foundation for Research and Training for Patient Education, together with Marcos Malavia, stage director. Since 12 years, the Foundation for Research and Training for Patient Education is developing the Theatre of Living Experience in Switzerland, France, Italy, Guadalupe, Bolivia and Madagascar. 400 participants have taken part in this creative process in more than 80 workshops: people suffering from the consequences of conflicts and of natural disasters (humanitarian workers from the International Committee of the Red Cross (link towards http://www.icrc.org/eng/), victims of earthquakes), people suffering from social isolation and exclusion and people suffering from chronic diseases (patients, their families and healthcare providers).

The method

The Theatre of Living Experience consists in workshops of 3 to 5 days bringing together 7 to 14 people in a multi-step process. The length of the process and the number of participants can be adapted to the specific needs of the partner organization.

The process

  • The writing (day 1): the participants are accompanied in writing a text (dialogue or monologue) relating a significant personal experience. At the end of this process, each participant reads his text to the group.
  • The stage direction (days 2-5): all the texts are read out by professional actors. Then each participant individually and in turn begins putting his own text on stage. He/she directs the actors, sets the stage, plays with lights, chooses the music, etc. A professional director accompanies each participant along for the whole process, which can take up to 2-3 hours, to produce a short play of 5-10 minutes.All participants attend each process of stage direction as spectators.
  • The final performance (last day): All the pieces are presented as a single entity to the participants and their families and friends.
DAY 1Writing DAY 2Stage direction DAY 3Stage direction DAY 4Stage direction DAY 5 (evening)Final performance

The theatrical representation adds an essential element to the initial text: the words are brought to life thanks to the actors, while the directing brings light, color, movement and music. Participants are accompanied in this creative process by a stage-director and professional actors.

The impact

The Theater of Living Experience allows to view a traumatic experience from a new standpoint and to reveal the resources and competences that such experience awakens in each individual. A different value and meaning can be attributed to the painful event.

Furthermore, the personal story once shared on stage becomes everybody’s story, it becomes the bridge connecting the individual with his/her own community. Becoming aware of others’ struggle enables us to take a distance from our own suffering and to see it as part of a much wider picture

As the stage-director of their own stories, the participants discover a new sense of empowerment in the way they can influence their own life.

« This process bring us closer to what lies behind the story; it brings us closer to the emotion that we could not express through words. Through the stage direction, our life story finds its meaning. »

« When I stage directed my story, I had neither to justify nor to explain my choices. I felt a great freedom. I had to justify to nobody the truth of my representation. The important thing was that it was real for me. Having expressed my experience allowed me to let it go. »

« It’s me but it is not me anymore. »

« Each choice during the stage-direction (music, lights, etc.) helped me go deeper into my story and my emotions. At the same time we remain masters through the whole process. It’s us who decide. »

« Everyone’s story becomes my own. »

The project Shore to Shore

The project is implemented in partnership with organizations active in the West Bank and in Israel promoting dialogue within and between Christian, Muslim and Jewish communities. These organizations work specifically for the empowerment of women and youth through art, culture and education encouraging nonviolence toward the construction of a peaceful society.

It aims at:

  • Preventing of violence and encouraging empathy towards oneself and others 
  • Transforming a traumatic experience through a creative approach
  • Promoting mutual support and respect withinn and between communities in conflict
Means  Objectives *
Taking distance from the painful event Improved coping capacity with the suffering associated with a negative event
Sharing one’s suffering with other participants Decreased sense of loneliness and isolation, sense of belonging to the community. Increased sense of empathy towards oneself and others
Becoming stage-director of one’s own life experience Increased awareness of one’s personal power to make creative choices and influence the community (empowerment)
Transforming a painful experience in a symbolic artistic theatrical representation Transformation of the negative perception of a life experience with an increased sense of meaning and value

*The objectives are based on the evaluation of the impact of the program in the last 12 y

Our short-term goal is to implement a series of workshops, to establish local partnerships, to evaluate the impact of the method in the specific context and to train local teams.

Our mid-term goal is to transfer the method of Theatre of Living Experience and the competences necessary to its implementation to local organisations and teams. As a second step of the project we also aim at using the theatre pieces as a tool for reflection and exchange in educational contexts (schools, non-profit organisations, etc.) both in Israel, in the Palestinian Territories and in Switzerland.

Our long-term goal is that non-profit organisations in the Palestinian Territories and Israel can easily benefit from the effects of the Theatre of Living Experience.

The team

Benedetta Barabino, Geneva

Benedetta Barabino, Geneva

PROJECT MANAGER

A biologist by training, Benedetta received a Ph.D. in Biophysics from the University La Sapienza of Rome. Ten years of academic research in neuroscience and her personal experience led her to search for new approaches to health care, particularly through creative activities. She holds a Masters in Adult Education and has been working for 8 years as a researcher and a trainer for the Foundation for Research and Training for Patient Education with a part-time position.

Valentine Sergo, Geneva

Valentine Sergo, Geneva

Stage Director

After her training in the professional theater school Serge Martin (Geneva), Valentine has been working since 1993 as an actor, director and author. She won in 2010 and 2012 the prize SSA (Swiss Authors Society) for playwriting. In addition she conducts theater workshops in the field of health care as well as workshops aiming at creating connections between foreign communities living in Switzerland. She collaborates on a regular basis with the Foundation Research and Training for Patient Education and the Geneva University Hospital (HUG).

Mai Shahin, Bethany

Mai Shahin, Bethany

Local Project Manager

Having studied psychology in Germany and in Sweden, Mai has been working for ten years as project manager and field director for a number of non-profit organisations supporting youth both in Jerusalem and the West Bank. She also directed youth trainings in Germany and in Thailand. Through her implication in this project, Mai wants to offer adults and youth, who suffer from exclusion and violence, an opportunity for their voice to be heard.

Teohna Williams, Geneva

Teohna Williams, Geneva

Actor

Teohna worked as a professional actor in both theatre and television for ten years. She then decided to diversify and began using theatre as a peacebuilding tool, working with communities in conflict. She holds a Bachelor degree in Anthropology and a Masters degree in International Affairs. She worked with the United Nations Development Program in Haiti, South Sudan, and Papua New Guinea before moving to Geneva where she currently works as an Advisor on Justice & Security reform.

Goni Zilberman, Jerusalem

Goni Zilberman, Jerusalem

Filmaker and Photographer

Teohna worked as a professional actor in both theatre and television for ten years. She then decided to diversify and began using theatre as a peacebuilding tool, working with communities in conflict. She holds a Bachelor degree in Anthropology and a Masters degree in International Affairs. She worked with the United Nations Development Program in Haiti, South Sudan, and Papua New Guinea before moving to Geneva where she currently works as an Advisor on Justice & Security reform.

The concept

The concept

The project Shore to Shore is based on the Theatre of Living experience, an artistic process that accompanies participants to become writers, stage-directors and spectators of their own life-story.

Introduction

Projet D’une Rive à l’AutreToo often words are not enough to express the inner pain caused by a traumatic experience. Therefore the emotions aweaken by such an experiences remain untold and unshared, locked in a cage of silence, shame and fear. The result is a deep sense of powerlessness which in turn determines how we perceive and relate with others. Our future choices are consequently based on fear, hatred and mistrust. The Theatre of Living Experience, through the metaphorical and sensorial language of theatre, enables to share the unsharable, to say what cannot be said, to transform the way we tell and we look at our own life. It allows us to reconnect with our own past experience and to recognize ourselves in the story of others. A painful experience is transformed, its meaning is revealed and its essence becomes universal. The feelings of solitude and isolation give way to a sense of interconnectedness and belonging which breaks down the barriers of fear, hatred and mistrust.

The history

The Theatre of Living Experience was developed in 2002 by Jean-Philippe Assal, professor of medicine and president of the Foundation for Research and Training for Patient Education, together with Marcos Malavia, stage director. Since 12 years, the Foundation for Research and Training for Patient Education is developing the Theatre of Living Experience in Switzerland, France, Italy, Guadalupe, Bolivia and Madagascar. 400 participants have taken part in this creative process in more than 80 workshops: people suffering from the consequences of conflicts and of natural disasters (humanitarian workers from the International Committee of the Red Cross (link towards http://www.icrc.org/eng/), victims of earthquakes), people suffering from social isolation and exclusion and people suffering from chronic diseases (patients, their families and healthcare providers).

The method

The Theatre of Living Experience consists in workshops of 3 to 5 days bringing together 7 to 14 people in a multi-step process. The length of the process and the number of participants can be adapted to the specific needs of the partner organization.

The process

  • The writing (day 1): the participants are accompanied in writing a text (dialogue or monologue) relating a significant personal experience. At the end of this process, each participant reads his text to the group.
  • The stage direction (days 2-5): all the texts are read out by professional actors. Then each participant individually and in turn begins putting his own text on stage. He/she directs the actors, sets the stage, plays with lights, chooses the music, etc. A professional director accompanies each participant along for the whole process, which can take up to 2-3 hours, to produce a short play of 5-10 minutes.All participants attend each process of stage direction as spectators.
  • The final performance (last day): All the pieces are presented as a single entity to the participants and their families and friends.
DAY 1
Writing
DAY 2
Stage direction
DAY 3
Stage direction
DAY 4
Stage direction
DAY 5 (evening)
Final performance

The theatrical representation adds an essential element to the initial text: the words are brought to life thanks to the actors, while the directing brings light, color, movement and music. Participants are accompanied in this creative process by a stage-director and professional actors.

The impact

The Theater of Living Experience allows to view a traumatic experience from a new standpoint and to reveal the resources and competences that such experience awakens in each individual. A different value and meaning can be attributed to the painful event.

Furthermore, the personal story once shared on stage becomes everybody’s story, it becomes the bridge connecting the individual with his/her own community. Becoming aware of others’ struggle enables us to take a distance from our own suffering and to see it as part of a much wider picture

As the stage-director of their own stories, the participants discover a new sense of empowerment in the way they can influence their own life.

« This process bring us closer to what lies behind the story; it brings us closer to the emotion that we could not express through words. Through the stage direction, our life story finds its meaning. »

« When I stage directed my story, I had neither to justify nor to explain my choices. I felt a great freedom. I had to justify to nobody the truth of my representation. The important thing was that it was real for me. Having expressed my experience allowed me to let it go. »

« It’s me but it is not me anymore. »

« Each choice during the stage-direction (music, lights, etc.) helped me go deeper into my story and my emotions. At the same time we remain masters through the whole process. It’s us who decide. »

« Everyone’s story becomes my own. »

The project Shore to Shore

The project Shore to Shore

The project is implemented in partnership with organizations active in the West Bank and in Israel promoting dialogue within and between Christian, Muslim and Jewish communities. These organizations work specifically for the empowerment of women and youth through art, culture and education encouraging nonviolence toward the construction of a peaceful society.

It aims at:

  • Preventing of violence and encouraging empathy towards oneself and others 
  • Transforming a traumatic experience through a creative approach
  • Promoting mutual support and respect withinn and between communities in conflict
Means  Objectives *
Taking distance from the painful event Improved coping capacity with the suffering associated with a negative event
Sharing one’s suffering with other participants Decreased sense of loneliness and isolation, sense of belonging to the community. Increased sense of empathy towards oneself and others
Becoming stage-director of one’s own life experience Increased awareness of one’s personal power to make creative choices and influence the community (empowerment)
Transforming a painful experience in a symbolic artistic theatrical representation Transformation of the negative perception of a life experience with an increased sense of meaning and value

*The objectives are based on the evaluation of the impact of the program in the last 12 y

Our short-term goal is to implement a series of workshops, to establish local partnerships, to evaluate the impact of the method in the specific context and to train local teams.

Our mid-term goal is to transfer the method of Theatre of Living Experience and the competences necessary to its implementation to local organisations and teams. As a second step of the project we also aim at using the theatre pieces as a tool for reflection and exchange in educational contexts (schools, non-profit organisations, etc.) both in Israel, in the Palestinian Territories and in Switzerland.

Our long-term goal is that non-profit organisations in the Palestinian Territories and Israel can easily benefit from the effects of the Theatre of Living Experience.

The team

The team

Benedetta Barabino, Geneva

Benedetta Barabino, Geneva

PROJECT MANAGER

A biologist by training, Benedetta received a Ph.D. in Biophysics from the University La Sapienza of Rome. Ten years of academic research in neuroscience and her personal experience led her to search for new approaches to health care, particularly through creative activities. She holds a Masters in Adult Education and has been working for 8 years as a researcher and a trainer for the Foundation for Research and Training for Patient Education with a part-time position.

Valentine Sergo, Geneva

Valentine Sergo, Geneva

Stage Director

After her training in the professional theater school Serge Martin (Geneva), Valentine has been working since 1993 as an actor, director and author. She won in 2010 and 2012 the prize SSA (Swiss Authors Society) for playwriting.
In addition she conducts theater workshops in the field of health care as well as workshops aiming at creating connections between foreign communities living in Switzerland. She collaborates on a regular basis with the Foundation Research and Training for Patient Education and the Geneva University Hospital (HUG).

Mai Shahin, Bethany

Mai Shahin, Bethany

Local Project Manager

Having studied psychology in Germany and in Sweden, Mai has been working for ten years as project manager and field director for a number of non-profit organisations supporting youth both in Jerusalem and the West Bank. She also directed youth trainings in Germany and in Thailand. Through her implication in this project, Mai wants to offer adults and youth, who suffer from exclusion and violence, an opportunity for their voice to be heard.

Teohna Williams, Geneva

Teohna Williams, Geneva

Actor

Teohna worked as a professional actor in both theatre and television for ten years. She then decided to diversify and began using theatre as a peacebuilding tool, working with communities in conflict. She holds a Bachelor degree in Anthropology and a Masters degree in International Affairs. She worked with the United Nations Development Program in Haiti, South Sudan, and Papua New Guinea before moving to Geneva where she currently works as an Advisor on Justice & Security reform.

Goni Zilberman, Jerusalem

Goni Zilberman, Jerusalem

Filmaker and Photographer

Teohna worked as a professional actor in both theatre and television for ten years. She then decided to diversify and began using theatre as a peacebuilding tool, working with communities in conflict. She holds a Bachelor degree in Anthropology and a Masters degree in International Affairs. She worked with the United Nations Development Program in Haiti, South Sudan, and Papua New Guinea before moving to Geneva where she currently works as an Advisor on Justice & Security reform.

Do you need more information about this project?